Hidden far from sight, deep in the thick underbrush of the North Florida woods are the ghostly graves of more than 30 unidentified bodies, some of which are thought to be children who were beaten to death at the old Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. It is suspected that many more bodies will be found in the fields and swamplands surrounding the institution. Investigations into the unmarked graves have compelled many grown men to come forward and share their stories of the abuses they endured and the atrocities they witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s at the institution.
The White House Boys: An American Tragedy is the true story of the horrors recalled by Roger Dean Kiser, one of the boys incarcerated at the facility in the late fifties for the crime of being a confused, unwanted, and wayward child. In a style reminiscent of the works of Mark Twain, Kiser recollects the horrifying verbal, sexual, and physical abuse he and other innocent young boys endured at the hands of their "caretakers." Questions remain unanswered and theories abound, but Roger and the other White House Boys are determined to learn the truth and see justice served.
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Tough. Brutal. Realistic. Vivid
Painful. Hard. Sad.
I am a child advocate and began my (volunteer) work with children of abuse/neglect in the early 1970s (and still do); a number of my cases involved children that were beaten to death and dealing with siblings that survived. The heartache and struggles that are carried from one generation to the next. Often detachment is the only way to survive.
This story is very real and I can see how such facilities could have been in many other states (and countries).
It is a wonder that Roger Dean Kiser was even able to relive and go through such brutality and was able to tell about it. It had to be tough just to reduce all of this pain to a book.
I am proud of him.
I couldn't take all the reality in one sitting. I had to space it out because of the vivid brutality. Even with my personal experience with children (now adults), it was hard. But, a story that needed to be told. There are more stories out there. But, this kind of story takes a lot of courage.
Thank you Roger Dean Kiser. You are a testiment to the survival and you may help other children.
- Tammy Field